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Bihar deploys Artificial Intelligence tool as a way to keep out voter fraud in ongoing polls

The Bihar government turns to AI in a bid to address voter manipulation even as tech interventions in elections keep rising.

Even as Telangana plans voting experiments with blockchain and facial recognition, the Bihar State Election Commission (SEC) has implemented AI-based analytics for the ongoing elections in the state. According to a Mint report, the SEC has deployed an Optical Character Recognition-based (OCR) AI software to count votes during the 11-stage panchayat elections there.

As per Staqu Technologies, whose JARVIS software is being used for the elections, the AI software has a 99.7% accuracy rate. OCR refers to technology that can recognise text or characters to digitise or digitally analyse them.

The Bihar SEC has also implemented fingerprint-based voter recognition, according to the report. Earlier, it was reported that India’s Election Commission was experimenting with biometric-based authentication by linking Aadhaar with voter-IDs to allow for remote voting. The proposal was criticised by various privacy experts raising concerns that it could lead to voter profiling and disenfranchisement due to frauds in the Aadhaar database.

How does JARVIS work?

According to the report:

  • CCTVs will be pointed at the screens of the Electronic Voting Machines
  • The AI analytics system will use OCR to identify the candidates and count votes
  • This data will then be stored on the SEC’s servers and cross-checked with the SEC’s own data
  • In case of any mismatch, it will raise an alarm

MediaNama has written to Staqu to gain more information about persons with access to the video footage, trials undertaken, and plans of expansion. We will update the report once a response is received.

From AI to blockchain: Tech interventions in elections are rising

January 2020: Facial recognition technology was used for the first time in the country on a pilot basis at 10 polling stations during civic elections in Telangana.

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September 2020: The Telangana’s State Election Commission (TSEC) was considering using blockchain-based e-voting in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections. This was ultimately shelved due to a lack of legislative backing.

November 2020: The TESC announced that it was going to use Aadhaar-OTP based verification to allow home voting during the Hyderabad Greater Municipal Corporation elections.

January 2021: The Election Commission of India (ECI) was reportedly going to begin mock trials to test remote voting facilities based on blockchain. A subsequent report revealed that the ECI had proposed using three methods for voter verification: Iris and fingerprint-based biometric verification, voice-biometric verification, and facial recognition.

October 2021: The Telangana government announced plans to test a smartphone-based eVoting solution that leverages technologies such as blockchain, facial recognition, and Aadhaar authentication to record one’s vote.

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Written By

I cover health technology for MediaNama, among other things. Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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